Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 97, Issue 1–2, pp 75–84 | Cite as

Mercury in Northern Québec: Role of the mercury agreement and status of research and monitoring

  • Gaston Chevalier
  • Charles Dumont
  • Claude Langlois
  • Alan Penn
Article

Abstract

In order to determine the nature and extent of the problem caused by the presence of mercury in the environment of the James Bay territory a Mercury Agreement was signed in 1986 jointly by the Crees, the Govemment of Québec and Hydro-Québec. The objectives were to minimize potential hazards to human health arising from the presence of mercury in the environment, to alleviate negative impacts on the Crees, their way of life and their harvesting activities and to provide for remedial measures. Monitoring of mercury concentrations in fish show that, 15 years after impounding of La Grande-2 reservoir, the concentrations remain higher in reservoirs than in natural lakes but they are now decreasing in both predatory (Northern pike) and non-predatory (Whitefish) fishes. Monitoring of the mercury exposure among the Crees showed that concentrations in hair have decreased and are now stabilized, for most of the population, to concentrations that do not present a health risk. This decrease may be attributed to a reduction in fish consumption and/or a possible switch of the diet towards non-piscivorous fish, less contaminated by mercury.

Keywords

Waste Water Mercury Water Management Negative Impact Water Pollution 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Berkes et al, 1972. Environmental aspects of the pulp and paper industry in Québec. Montréal: Terra NovaGoogle Scholar
  2. Branchaud, A., A.D. Gendron, C. Lemire et R. Dion (1996). Reproduction artificielle de l'esturgeon jaune dans le nord du Québec. Rapport présenté par l'Université du Québec à Montréal, GVL Environnement et l'Administration régionale crie au Comité de la Baie James sur le mercure, Montréal, 24 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Brouard, D., C. Demers, R. Lalumière, R. Schetagne et R. Verdon (1990). Rapport synthèse. Évolution des teneurs en mercure des poissons du complexe hydroélectrique La Grande, Québec (1978–1990). Rapport conjoint vice-présidence Environnement, Hydro-Québec et Groupe Environnement Shooner inc. 100 pp.Google Scholar
  4. C.Q.H.-Q. (1986). Mercury Agreement. Text of the Agreement. Montréal, Québec. 16 sections and one appendix.Google Scholar
  5. Dumont, C. , F. Noël and M. Girard (1996). Change in the mercury exposure of the Crees of James Bay (Québec), submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  6. Dumont, C., R. Wilkins, T. Kosatsky and S. Lapierre (1988). Arctic Medical Research, No 47, sum. 1: 168–174.Google Scholar
  7. Girard, M. and C. Dumont (1995). Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 80:13–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Girard, M., F. Noël and C. Dumont (1996). Arctic Medical Research; 55:69–74.Google Scholar
  9. James Bay Mercury Committee (1995a). Report of Activities, 1993–1994. Jarres Bay Mercury Committee, Montréal, 48 pp.Google Scholar
  10. James Bay Mercury Committee (1995b). Mercury, Questions and Answers. Brochure and posters prepared by the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, Hydro-Québec and the Cree Regional Authority for the James Bay Mercury Committee. Montréal, 24 pp and 13 posters.Google Scholar
  11. Langlois, C., R. Langis et M. Pérusse, (1995). Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 80: 1021–1024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mckeown-Eyssen, G.E. and Ruedy, I. (1983a). American Journal of Epidemiology, 118(4):461–469.Google Scholar
  13. Mckeown-Eyssen, G.E. and Ruedy, J. (1983b). Clinical and Investigative Medicine, 6(3): 161–169.Google Scholar
  14. Mckeown-Eyssen, G.E.,J. Ruedy and A. Neims (1983). American Journal of Epidemiology, 118(4):470–479.Google Scholar
  15. Santé et Bien-Être Social Canada (1979). Le méthylmercure au Canada. Exposition des Indiens et des Inuits au méthylmercure présent dans l'environnement canadien. Ministère de la Santé et du Bien-Être Social du Canada, Direction des Services Médicaux, Ottawa.Google Scholar
  16. Schetagne, R., R. Verdon, C. Langlois and J.F. Doyon (1996). Mercury evolution (1978–1995) in fishes of the La Grande Hydroelectric Complex, Québec, Canada. Communication presented at the 4th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Hamburg, Germany, August 4–8 1996, 12 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Tremblay, A. et C. Langlois (1996). Mesures d'atténuation réalisées avec les communautés cries de la Baie James de 1989 à 1995 dans le cadre de la Convention sur le Mercure. Rapport présenté au Comité de la Baie James sur le Mercure par la vice-présidence Environnement d'Hydro-Québec, Montréal, 44 pp.Google Scholar
  18. Weinstein, M. and A. Penn (1987). Mercury and the Chisasibi fishery: A report prepared for the Cree Regional Authority. Cree Regional Authority, Montréal.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaston Chevalier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Charles Dumont
    • 1
    • 3
  • Claude Langlois
    • 1
    • 4
  • Alan Penn
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.James Bay Mercury CommitteeMontréal
  2. 2.Université du Québec d MontréalMontréal
  3. 3.Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James BayMontréal
  4. 4.Vice-présidence EnvironnementMontréal
  5. 5.Cree Regional AuthorityMontréal

Personalised recommendations